Kool-Aid = Lipstick
DIY dilemma: A day of volunteering at your kid’s kindergarten has drained the life from your face–and you’ve got just five minutes until the school bell rings and you can make a break for a restaurant with the family.
Mission accomplished: Distract the kids with a pitcher of cherry Kool-Aid while you grab a pinch of the powder for yourself and head to the bathroom mirror. Mix with a little water and you’ll have made an awesome ad-hoc cheek and lip tint, say Annie and Maggie Ford Danielson, global authorities for Benefit Beauty.
Advil Liqui-Gels= Zit Zapper
DIY dilemma: A pimple has reared it’s ugly head and you’ve got nothing more than the contents of the office first aid kit to tame it.
Mission accomplished: Aspirin has long been known as an in-a-pinch zit zapper–but technology has created pimple-fighter 2.0 thanks to liquid gel formulas. “I hear makeup artists use this all the time on models backstage at fashion shows,” says beauty guru Robin Coe-Hutshing. “Open up an Advil gel cap and apply it right onto the pimple. It takes the swelling down right away.”
Onion = Bug Bite Soother
DIY dilemma: You managed to swing a little winter vacation in Mexico, but while you’re lunching at an outdoor café mosquitos are lunching on you.
Mission accomplished: Grab that onion slice off your salad and start rubbing it directly onto the irritation. “The sulphur in onions work right away to fix the itch,” says Jordana Mattioli, aesthetician at the office of Dr Adam M. Kolker in NYC.
Milk of Magnesia = Face Mask
DIY dilemma: Your skin’s looking rough—but payday’s a week and a half away, so no salon facial for you.
Mission accomplished: Milk of Magnesia has talents beyond just neutralizing stomach acid. “Growing up I learned the great Milk of Magnesia face mask,” says Coe-Hutshing of her trick to keeping skin smooth, clear and china-like. “Dab it on with a cotton ball, wait until it dries, then rinse off. That’s it! It’s amazing.”
DIY dilemma: Last night’s date went a whole lot better than expected and you’re heading to work from his place–but your scuffed shoes are looking more “walk of shame” than “victory parade.”
Mission accomplished: Robin Coe Hutshing’s non-date-night strategy works just as well when applied to your current situation. “This is embarrassing, but in an emergency I have used personal lubricant to polish my scuffed shoes,” she admits.
Black Tea = Foot Deodorizer
DIY dilemma: Your feet, put frankly, are smelling like very expensive cheese, and you’ve got 15 minutes before you walk out the door to meet friends.
Mission accomplished: Rummage through your kitchen cupboard for black tea, says Ian Ginsberg, Owner of C.O. Bigelow. Steep 2-3 bags in a bowl filled with warm (not hot!) water – then set your stopwatch for 15 minutes and get soaking. The tannins are helpful in neutralizing odor.
Matchbook = Nail file
DIY dilemma: You’re looking your best as you catch the bus to a job interview — but when you push the ‘next stop’ button you chip a nail.
Mission accomplished: Reach into your coat pocket and fish out that matchbook you grabbed from your fancy meal out last week. The sandpaper-like strike strip on the back is surprisingly precise at shaping nails quickly.
Baby Powder = Shampoo
DIY dilemma: The alarm didn’t ring (again) and you’ve got five minutes until you head out the door — making this the third morning in a row that you haven’t washed your greasy head.
Mission accomplished: Degrease in seconds by excavating the baby powder from the back of the cupboard. “If you have oily roots, massage and blow-dry talc powder into the roots to absorb oil,” says Heath Grout, TIGI’s USA Creative Director.
Tennis Ball = Personal Masseuse
DIY dilemma: Your attempt to channel Serena Williams on the court has left your back in knots, but if you have to choose between your mortgage and a massage, well, you know which one’s going to win, however reluctantly.
Mission accomplished: Dig those tennis balls out of your bag. Lie on your back and place one ball between your shoulder blade and spine, says massage guru Ben Brown of New York City spa Bliss. Gradually let your weight rest into the surface of the ball, relaxing around it. Now gently roll your shoulder and back over the ball. Instant relief.
Baking Soda = Deodorant
DIY dilemma: A hot kitchen and hours spent rolling out dough — no doubt about it, your cookie-baking marathon has left you sweating. Party guests are on their way.
Mission accomplished: Reserve a little baking soda for yourself, and pat under your underarms. It’ll do the same job deodorizing you as it does your fridge, by absorbing odors.
Lump of Coal = Eyeliner
DIY dilemma: A weekend in the woods with friends turns worthy of a romance novel when eligible off-duty firefighters stake a tent a few yards from your campsite. You want to look like your normal self, but who brings a makeup kit to a campout?
Mission accomplished: First, prove you’re up on fire safety by extinguishing your smoldering campfire. Then use the burnt coal (cooled of course) to make a mean smoky eye. If Cleopatra can do it, so can you. Smudge to perfection if you’ve got a Q-Tip on hand, or just use your finger.
Peppermint Oil = Chewing Gum
DIY dilemma: You finished scarfing down an entire extra-garlic pizza moments before the doorbell rings, and who do you spy through the keyhole but the adorable man from across the hall.
Mission accomplished: Run to your bathroom cabinet, homing in on your bath-time products. A single drop of essential oil of peppermint on your tongue instantly freshens breath and kills bacteria, according to Ute Leube, founder of haute organic skincare line Amala.